Most Accepted GMO’s Till Date
Voice of Biotecnika – Episode No: 58
Hello everyone. Welcome to another exciting episode of our podcast. Today we are going to share some very interesting facts that have raised concerns all over the world, initiated debates and challenged scientists to prove their point. What is today’s’ topic? Nope, I won’t disclose it now. Stay tuned and keep following. Biotecnika’s very own podcast-the Voice Of Biotecnika.
Jerefy Rifnin was once found saying- ‘’What I’m suggesting to you is that this could be a renaissance. We may be on the cusp of a future which could provide a tremendous leap forward for humanity. It may be that everything the life science companies are telling us will turn out to be right, and there’s no problem here whatsoever. That defies logic. They’re now turning those seeds into intellectual property, so they have a virtual lock on the seeds upon which we all depend for our food and survival. Many of the genetically modified food will be safe I’m sure, will most of them be safe? nobody knows!’’
People have been altering the genomes of plants and animals for many years using traditional breeding techniques. Artificial selection for specific, desired traits has resulted in a variety of different organisms, ranging from sweet corn to hairless cats. But this artificial selection has been limited to naturally occurring variations because in here only organisms that exhibit specific traits are chosen to breed subsequent generations. However, in recent decades, advances in the field of genetic engineering have allowed for precise control over the genetic changes introduced into an organism. Today, we can incorporate new genes from one species into a completely unrelated species through genetic engineering, optimizing agricultural performance or facilitating the production of valuable pharmaceutical substances. Crop plants, farm animals, and soil bacteria are some of the more prominent examples of organisms that have been subject to genetic engineering.
GMO’s or Genetically modified crops are plants used in agriculture, the DNA of which has been modified using genetic engineering techniques. If we sneak-peek into the history then we will see that Human-directed genetic manipulation of food actually began with the domestication of plants and animals through artificial selection at about 10,500 to 10,100 BC. The process of selective breeding, in which organisms with desired traits (and thus with the desired genes) are used to breed the next generation and organisms lacking the trait are not bred, is a precursor to the modern concept of genetic modification (GM). With the discovery of DNA in the early 1900s and various advancements in genetic techniques through the 1970s, it became possible to directly alter the DNA and genes within the food.
The first genetically modified plant was produced in 1983, using an antibiotic-resistant tobacco plant.
Genetically modified microbial enzymes were the first application of genetically modified organisms in food production and were approved in 1988 by the US Food and Drug Administration. In the early 1990s, recombinant chymosin was approved for use in several countries. The cheese had typically been made using the enzyme complex rennet that had been extracted from cows’ stomach lining. Scientists modified bacteria to produce chymosin, which was also able to clot milk, resulting in cheese curds.
The first genetically modified food approved for release was the Flavr Savr tomato in 1994. Developed by Calgene, it was engineered to have a longer shelf life by inserting an antisense gene that delayed ripening. China was the first country to commercialize a transgenic crop in 1993 with the introduction of virus-resistant tobacco. In 1995, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Potato was approved for cultivation, making it the first pesticide producing crop to be approved in the US. Other genetically modified crops receiving marketing approval in 1995 were: canola with modified oil composition, Bt maize, cotton resistant to the herbicide bromoxynil, Bt cotton, glyphosate-tolerant soybeans, virus-resistant squash, and another delayed ripening tomato. By 2010, 29 countries planted commercialized biotech crops and a further 31 countries had granted regulatory approval for transgenic crops to be imported. The US was the leading country in the production of GM foods in 2011, with twenty-five GM crops having received regulatory approval. In 2015, 92% of corn, 94% of soybeans, and 94% of cotton produced in the US were genetically modified strains.
But if we look into the recent scenario, we will get a different picture. Genetically modified crops are currently grown in 26 nations around the world, while dozens ban farmers from planting GMO crops. Countries that ban GMOs received considerable attention in 2015 when a majority of European Union nations decided to block the cultivation of new GMO crops within their borders, and Russia issued a ban on both cultivation and imports. The most recent data from the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications shows that more than 18 million farmers in 26 countries—including 19 developing nations—planted over 185 million hectares (457 million acres) of GMO crops in 2016. This represents a 3 percent increase over 2015 and the highest area of biotech crop adoption since cultivation began in 1996.
Countries growing GMO crops are: Brazil, United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Bolivia, Philippines, Spain, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Colombia, Honduras, Chile, Sudan, Slovakia, Costa Rica, China, India, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Mexico, Portugal, Czech Republic, Pakistan and Myanmar. Roughly half of the global area of GMO crops is soybeans is almost 51%, according to the ISAAA. Others include Maize 30%, cotton 13% Canola 5%, and others 1%. The US planted the most GMO crop area at 73 million hectares, followed by Brazil (49 million), Argentina (24 million), Canada (12 million) and India (11 million). These 5 countries made of 91 percent of the global area of GMO crops. If we see the adoption rate of GM crops worldwide, then Soybean is the highest with 82% acceptance, followed by cotton 68%, maize 30%, and canola 25%. The most preferred trait is the herbicide tolerance 57%, then Stacked traits 28% and insect resistance being only 15%.
Currently, India has the world‟s fourth-largest GM crop acreage surpassing China‟s 3.0 million hectares (mh), while equaling that of Canada‟s 11.6 mh, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) mostly on the basis of GM Cotton, the only genetically modified crop allowed in the country. While Bt cotton wholly dominates India‟s GM crop acreage, the commercial cultivation of seven other crops –papaya, rice, maize, petunia, tomato, and sweet pepper has been allowed by the government (The Indian Express, February 2, 2015).
India hasn’t seen any new entrant in the sector of GM based crop varieties after Bt Cotton and a fleeting appearance of Bt Brinjal. Many GM varieties are believed to be under different stages of development, but yet to mark a formal release. GM Mustard is the new GM crop in the block that is doing the rounds of constant speculation and has been cleared by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), the biotech regulator in India under the Ministry of environment and forests with no such biosafety or public health concerns. Therefore, the current status of yet another GM crop hinges on public perception and not on scientific reports (Agriculture Today, 2016). According to Vidya Venkat, 2016, Field trials for 21 GM food crops, including GM vegetables and cereals have been approved by the government through commercial cultivation of GM food that has not been permitted by any State government in India till now.
So let us wait and see whether the Indian market accepts any other new GM crop or not. Keep listing to THe Voice of Biotecnika, while we keep a watch on the latest updates of Most Accepted GMO worldwide.